Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Monday

Good morning, dear ones. The sun is shining brightly on this Holy Monday, even as so many here in Carolina are digging out from the worst spate of deadly tornados this state has seen since 1984. Over 20 dead...and property destroyed in scenes which resemble a war zone or the pictures we have been seeing of the earthquake's devastation in Japan.

More than 60 tornados were reported across our state on Saturday, hopscotching in a haphazard fashion across the capitol city, Raleigh, and many rural hamlets, destroying a Lowe's Home Improvement store in Sanford and then moving willy-nilly through residential neighborhoods, flattening one house while leaving its neighbor untouched. Official tallies include more than 130 serious injuries, 65 homes destroyed, and another 600 damaged significantly, while many major roadways remain blocked by downed trees.

And those of us in the Christian community are venturing into the week we call "Holy" because it is the time we commemorate most fully the passion and death of Jesus of Nazareth, the one who came to be called The Christ. From yesterday's joyous procession with palms, we will venture into the darkest valley of death on Good Friday, in order to come out on the other side in the light of Easter Sunday morning. But we cannot, we simply cannot ignore the pain and devastation of this week's journey if we are to truly appreciate the wonder and grace of new life- even though walking through pain is something we seldom do willingly. Yet the axiom, The only way out is through, is most certainly true, and we are reminded of this each Holy Week.

But here in Carolina, we are being reminded most fully this Holy Week by the very real devastation which our sisters and brothers are experiencing from the unexpected weekend storms. They have no choice but to "walk through" the pain and upheaval which has torn their lives to shreds...and their plight reminds the rest of us how tenuous life really out-of-our-control. And countless families are walking through a very real "valley of the shadow of death" as they mourn the loss of loved ones, mourn the loss of homes and property, mourn the loss of what had been their lives.

And so, as you begin this long, mournful, and difficult walk in the steps of Jesus this week- if, indeed, that is part of your spiritual discipline, your faith journey, and even if it's not- remember those here in Carolina, those in Japan, those in Libya and in the Congo and in Iraq and Afghanistan whose walk this week will indeed be into the pain of life. Hold them in your heart and send love...and then, give thanks for the life you have been given, confident that there is beauty and happiness and new life on the other side of the pain. Thanks be to God!

Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of  traveling.
-Margaret Lee Runbeck

Pink striations mark
          the site…
                   the sun’s path
                   paved with beauty
                             with glory…
A catch of breath-         
          loveliness does that-
          reminds me that
                   life is holy…
                   creation is holy…
                   and, yes, I am holy…
The light-stained path
          spreads out before me…         
          reminding me that
                   this life IS holy ground.
                   And I take off my shoes-
and DANCE!

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